|The second LAFAYETTE
(SSBN-616) was laid down 17 January 1961 by Electric Boat
Co., Division of General Dynamics, Groton, Conn.; launched 8
May 1962; sponsored by Mrs. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr.,
wife of the 35th President of the United States; and
commissioned 23 April 1963 at Groton, Conn., Comdr. P. J.
Hannifin in command of the Blue Crew and Comdr. James T.
Strong in command of the Gold Crew.
After a Caribbean shakedown,
LAFAYETTE loaded missiles at Charleston and during June
sailed to Cape Canaveral for ballistic missile maneuvers.
Four missiles were fired, two by each crew, after which the
nuclear submarine steamed to Groton, arriving there 2
August. For the rest of the year her two crews alternately
took her through a series of exercises before she took her
place in the Navy’s expanding “Polaris Fleet.”
LAFAYETTE departed Charleston 4
January 1964 for her first deterrent patrol in the Atlantic.
During the next 4 years, LAFAYETTE, as part of America’s
most effective weapon system, made 16 deterrent patrols out
of Rota, Spain and played an important role in the
maintenance of peace and freedom throughout the world. Her
15th patrol, the 400th of the Polaris submarine fleet, won
LAFAYETTE special commendation from Secretary of the Navy
Paul Nitze. She returned to Charleston from her 16th patrol
23 August 1967. A week later, she arrived Newport News for a
major overhaul by Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock
Co. to prepare for future service. On 28 December 1968,
LAFAYETTE’s overhaul officially ended and in January 1969,
she once again took up her vital position with the fleet.
Deactivated while still in
commission on 1 March 1991, LAFAYETTE was decommissioned on
the following 12 August and stricken from the Naval Vessel
Register on 25 February 1992. She began the Navy’s Nuclear
Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Bremerton,
Washington the day she was deactivated and finished it the
day she was stricken. On the latter date, the ship no longer
existed as an entity and was classed as scrapped.